Resource management software – the case for a best of breed solution

IT departments in large organizations are keen to minimize the number of systems that they need to maintain. They have a strong incentive to go for ERP, enterprise project management (EPM) software and other large corporate systems, avoiding a multiplicity of best of breed systems. Resource management software falls into this decision, with many ERP and EPM systems including some functionality.

Operational departments may be less enamoured. For example, in engineering and construction, the scale of individual projects requires comprehensive project planning capabilities, with task planning in considerable detail. This warrants a sophisticated project planning tool, but for those charged with achieving high levels of overall resource utilization, it’s the wrong focus. Skilled engineers work on a variety of other tasks outside of live projects. ‘What If..’ scenarios are needed to assess the resource implications as new projects are awarded, whilst ensuring that live projects, proposal preparation and important operational tasks remain properly resourced. Responding to this mix of tasks can be cumbersome with enterprise project management software.

Consistently achieving high utilization levels is a strategic goal for project based organizations. Back in 2012 the UK Association of Consulting Engineers, in a member benchmark survey, found that a mere 2% increase in staff utilization levels would increase their member’s operational profits by 25%. This is a rich reward for modest improvement and justifies adoption of the most suitable resource management software.

Most project based organizations work in a highly volatile environment, where project change is endemic. The resource implications of each change must be proactively managed if high levels of resource utilization are to be maintained. Best of breed resource management software, such as Innate, is specifically designed for this and is much more nimble than components of larger corporate systems can ever be.

As a on-time engineering services director of Petrofac, the oil and gas facilities provider, said: the challenge is to continually optimize the utilization of a geographically dispersed workforce of 4,500 engineers, where each project has its own timeline, priority and competency requirements. He used Innate’s best of breed resource management software to achieve this, alongside their enterprise project management software to manage individual projects’ deliveries and milestones.

Barry Muir is a Director of Innate Management Systems Ltd. We have been implementing resource management software in a wide variety of professional services organizations for more than 20 years.
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